Best time: All year
Timing: 5 days Trek
Grade: Moderate

Salcantay peak is the highest peak of the Cordillera Vilcabamba (6,264m/20,574ft), part of the Peruvian Andes. It is located in the Cusco Region, about 60 km (40 mi) west-northwest of the city of Cusco. It is only the 38th highest peak in the Andes, and the twelfth highest in Peru, but because of the low surrounding area, it is the second most topographically prominent peak in the country after Huascarán and a challenging climb.

Many Inca trails lace the fabled Cordillera Vilcabamba, the steep green mountains that surround Machu Picchu.  Our special route follows a traditional but seldom traveled Inca trail leading up from the Urubamba River past remote ruins, then higher still into breathtaking alpine reaches where we have some of the most glorious views and campsites in the Andes all to ourselves.

TREK ITINERARY

Day 01: Cusco – Soraypampa
We will leave Cusco at 5:00 a.m in our own private bus, and drive to Mollepata. Along the four and a half hour drive, we can see the town of Limatambo (2100 masl), an important point of access to the city of Cusco during the time of the Inca Empire. We will leave Limatambo and drive up a beaten track along the right shore of the Apurimac river, to reach Mollepata (2800 masl) where we will have our breakfast. Hereafter we arrange the equipment on horses. After our breakfast we will start the ascent on foot towards Cruzpata (3100 masl) along a slight climb where we will appreciate various plants, native birds, the Apurimac river canyon (which is one of the deepest in Peru), and a community irrigation canal. In Cruzpata we will have our lunch, we will depart at around 1:30 p.m in the direction of Soraypampa along a climbing trail with many level variations and along which we will see little groups of houses, flora, small wild birds and spectacular views of the Humantay snow peak (5902 masl). After approximately 4 hours of walking, we will arrive at our campsite in Soraypampa (3900 masl). From here we can appreciate the majestic Apu Salcantay.

Day 02: Soraypampa – Collpapampa.
After an early breakfast we’ll start trekking from Soraypampa at approx 7:30 a.m hiking across the peruvian highlands for 3 hours before starting our ascent to the Apacheta pass 4,650 mts.  Here we’ll continue on a gentle climb that crosses through puna (high dry grassland). From this point we can appreciate spectacular views of Salkantay Mountain, a stunning snow capped mountain (6,264 m) and the second highest peak in the Cuzco region.  From here we’ll also be able to see the mountains Humantay and Huayanay, bright white rivers, small lakes and moraines. From the Apacheta Pass we’ll head dowhill to lunch in Huayracpunku, and then continue downwards for a further 2-3 hours to Camp in Chaullay.

Day 03: Collpapampa – La Playa
Wake up to some lovely mountain scenery and a good morning tea. We will start the trek at 07:00 AM.  3 hours easy hiking to Uscamayuc, where we will encounter a high Jungle niche called “Ceja de Selva”, here we will see a stark contrast in flora and fauna with exotic birds, bright tropical flowers and plenty of coca and banana crops.  Here we’ll stop to take a shower in a lovely waterfall, take amazing pictures.  With luck we’ll even see the famous Peruvian National Bird “Gallito de las Rocas”.  Later we’ll stop at Wiñaypoq’o for lunch and enjoy some free time to rest. At the end of the day we will see passion fruit fields. The hike will last approximately 9 hours; the campsite is at the community named “La Playa “(2400 masl).

Day 04: La Playa – Aguas Calientes(06.30 hours aprox. Time of hike)
From La Playa we’ll take local transportation for approximately 20 minutes to Lucma ( or just hike if local transport isn’t available), from here we start our climb of about 03 hours to Llactapata ( newly discovery Inca Site ) which is famous for a “great condor view of Machu Picchu”, then we’ll enjoy our packed lunch before hiking down hill for about 2.30 hours to the Hydroelectric Station, where we should arrive by about 3:00 pm. From here we will take the local train to Aguas Calientes 45 minutes away.
You may also wish to pay a visit to the town’s famous thermal springs which feel great after finishing the trail. Entrance to the springs is a small fee of $US 3.00 and they’re open until 9pm.  Allow 3 hours to really enjoy them. In the evening we have dinner at a nice Restaurant, Accommodation in a Hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Day 05: Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Cusco.
We are going up to the Archeological site of Machupicchu to explore the ruins at leisure and enjoy the ancient city in the tranquil morning hours.  We´ll have a guided tour with an English speaking guide of about 2 ½ hours. Then for the rest of the day you will be free to enjoy the atmosphere of this amazing city. You can climb up Huayna Picchi Mountain for spectacular views over the entire Machu Picchu site (about 1 hour 40 mins round trip) or visit the Temple of the Moon lower down.  You will be issued with a transfer ticket and you can catch the bus down to the town of Aguas Calientes when you’re ready in order to enjoy a nice lunch.
Most trains depart Aguas Calientes between 3:30pm and 5:20pm (depends on train schedules) and the return train journey will take approx 4½ hours, arriving in Cusco sometime between 7:30 – 9:30pm.  Lunch Included

Contact info@peruviantreks.com for more information and prices for this Cusco trek

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